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Children's eye health and safety

Children's eye health and safety

It's already August, and that means it's almost back-to-school time for your kids. It is also children's eye health and safety month; so what better way to make sure your child is prepared and healthy for school than to include an eye exam on the checklist.

Most children have healthy eyes, but several things can affect your child's eye health such as vision problems, diseases, and poor safety. For those reasons, children should have their eyes examined at their regular pediatric appointments and should start vision testing around age three.

It can be difficult to tell if your child has a vision problem just from looking at their eyes. Instead, try looking for the following signs: wandering or crossed eyes, disinterest in reading or viewing distant items, squinting or turning their head in a strange manner while watching TV, or a family history of childhood vision problems. These are all indicators of a possible vision problem.

While vision problems are important to watch for, diseases can also affect your child's eye health. Some of the most common eye diseases in children include:

  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Ptosis (drooping of the eyelid)
  • Color deficiency (color blindness)
  • Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Retinitis pigmentosa (retina deteriorates)
  • Uveitis (inflammation)

If you believe your child is experiencing any of these issues you should schedule an eye exam with your provider as soon as possible. The earlier a vision problem or disease is detected the more likely treatment will be successful.

Finally, safety should be your top priority when teaching your children about eye health this month. The leading cause of vision impairment in children is eye injuries. We certainly don't want a "You'll shoot your eye out" incident like in the movie A Christmas Story, so follow these preventative tips. Have your child wear protective eyewear while participating in sports, let them only play with age appropriate toys, and teach them to avoid toys and items with sharp or protruding parts.

You can schedule your child's vision screening with pediatrician Dr. Vijaya Koduri or family medicine physicians Dr. Nathan Tracey or Dr. Ryan Noonan in the Campbell County Medical Group by either calling 307-688-3636 or visiting the Main Clinic. For more information on children's eye health and safety you can also visit hap.org.